Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., vice president for discovery at AbbVie, leads a global team of dedicated scientists and researchers who work to identify potential new medicines. His team involves a wide range of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry and pharmacology. Here Jim explains why Alzheimer’s disease is so difficult to treat, what AbbVie is doing to uniquely target the disease, and why the need for treatments for all types of dementia is growing exponentially.
Nearly 47 million people worldwide are living with dementia — and over the next few decades that number is projected to double every 20 years. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and aging is its biggest risk factor. If we all live to the age of 85, one in two of us will develop dementia.
These numbers tell us that Alzheimer’s represents a huge challenge for society as the number of patients and caregivers seeking help from the health care system will explode in the coming decades. Just as importantly, from a research and development perspective there have been a number of significant advances in our understanding of the disease. This coupled with the availability of new imaging tools that are helping us better understand the disease and also investigate potential treatments, present us with promising scientific opportunities.